John Ransom
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As the GOP and Dems grapple over trimming an elephantine federal budget deficit, Barack Obama stars in his favorite role as Mr. Chicken. Nothing more presidential than the leader of, ahem, the free world cluck, clucking that the sky is falling but too scared to join the fray.

Keep scratching at the dirt, chicken, maybe you’ll find a seed.  

Too bad he can’t order Seal Team Six to take out the Super Committee or have NATO spin up a few cruise missiles to keep them in line.   

Even members of the president’s party are growing restive at a president who has time for fundraising, time for foreign receptions where he can bad-mouth the USA as “lazy,” time for a 57 state bus tour under which the finances of the country are regularly thrown to give the bus a little more traction, yet he has no time to negotiate a budget deal.

This is the third time in one year that Obama has had the opportunity to negotiate a major budget deal. It’s also the third time he’s fumbled the chance.

No president has done less with more chances.

“Three times is a lot,” Churchill wrote about how the British Navy blew three opportunities to secure a decisive victory at the Battle of Jutland.

I expect that once the budget deal finally fails and automatic cuts are enacted, Obama will announce a major vacation initiative on Good Morning America.      

Obama seems to be stuck refighting Harry Truman’s come from behind campaign against a do-nothing Congress. Problem is this isn’t 1946 and Obama’s no Harry Truman.

He’s a president who has been recorded as not present on budget and fiscal issues since taking the oath of office. He was more believable in the role of the do-nothing Senator than he has been as president. Harry Truman never voted “not present” in his whole life: not as farmer, not as haberdasher, not as Senator, not as president.  

As president, Obama has even made a poor Senator.  

Democrat US Senator from West Virginia Joe Manchin, a former governor who knows a little about governing- which seems to be a weak spot for Obama- blasted his president on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday when asked if Obama is doing enough to reach fiscal sanity: “Well, if it doesn't work, then no one’s done enough on it. And he's the leader of this great country, and we want him to step forward.”

Translation: If this fails you have to lay the blame at the door step of the White House.

To make his point even more clear, he took specific aim at Obama on the issue of campaigning versus solving problems.

“[W]e need to be a good American. It’s about our country,” said Manchin. “So, we can't worry about the next election. It should be the next generation. Everything we do here is worried about the next election. How it's going to affect them, who would help, who can they blame? This is not the blame game, and you never fixed a thing by blaming people. So, yes we want to see the president take the leadership.”

I can’t imagine a barb more pointedly jabbed at the president’s complicity in the stalemate over federal spending.

It won’t be too long either before the USA finds the issue taken completely out of its discretion to solve, ala Europe, if agreement isn’t reached pretty soon to cut and cap spending.

Don’t expect China to be the bank. They have their own problems; they’ll be asking the rest of us for loans soon.     

And just as has happened in Europe, the capital markets will not react well to failure by politicians to solve what remains a spending problem created by politicians.

The country spends more money than it takes in. With 40 cents of every dollar of GDP going to government spending, the only solution is cutting spending.  This isn’t 1932 when federal spending was only 7.27 percent of GDP.    

Go back to the dog days of August when the debt ceiling debate and the faux Super Committee compromise conspired to foul Obama as the first president to suffer the indignity of having US sovereign debt downgraded; go back to Obama being fricasseed by Chinese Communists about the dangers of debt.  

There is a real danger that before our current chicken-in-chief can go back to writing fictionalized accounts of his own, heroic, do-nothing life that the USA will become the United States of Europe.

Obama, call him chicken, or president, just has no pluck.

PS- If you friend me on Facebook you get sneak peeks of columns!  

PS Part 2- The email function at the top of the page working again. Sorry it took so long. Let the Hate Mail begin!


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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.